Screening Process Could Increase Lung Cancer Survival

Overall survival of lung cancer patients in trial increased by 73%.

Researchers in the UK lung cancer screening trial (UKLS) found a 73% chance of surviving 5 years or more in patients with a high risk of developing the disease.

According to a study published in Health Technology Assessment, approximately 70% of patients seek care too late in the disease, which results in poor outcomes for lung cancer patients. Identifying lung cancer at an early stage is critical.

Researchers found more than 80% of individuals with very early stage disease had surgical interventions.

"If we could detect lung cancer via screening of high risk individuals, it would make a major impact on the diagnosis of lung cancer at an earlier stage of the disease and would greatly improve the survival rates of those affected by this terrible disease,” said researcher John Field, MA, PhD, BDS, FRCPath.

The UKLS provides information about setting up a national lung cancer screening program, and includes a risk prediction model to identify high risk patients. The study included 4055 patients who were identified as high-risk through a population-based questionnaire.

The screening itself used low dose computed tomography (LDCT), which is a low dose imagine procedure that provides a detailed image of areas within the body. A new approach was also used to detect early lung cancer nodules.

Researchers found LDCT decreased mortality by 20%.

Professor Stephen Duffy, the Lead Statistician of the UKLS, based at Queen Mary University of London said, "The results of this trial are very promising, and further follow-up of the trial population will inform decisions about whether there should be a screening program, and about improvements to the screening process,” concluded lead statistician of the study Stephen Duffy, BSc, MSc, CStat.